I have no idea why the change of one second when one year ticks over to the next is such a significant event - but it is. I guess it is somethingw ithin us that sees signifcance in new starts and new opportunities.
Today has been about preparing for the new.
Our house is AMAZING today.
It kind of started with 'let's change the bed even though it doesn't really need it today so we have a newly changed bed to get into at the start of 2017!'
From there it wet to 'let's move the bed out (a massive endeavor as our bed is in sections with electrics and everything) and clean under it. Which led to let's spring clean the entire bedroom and bathroom which led to let's take down the decorations (so we could have a Fiki free relaxed evening with no tree up) which led to let's springclean the whole house and bin a load of stuff we never use.
The result is we are shattered but the house looks fab, we have de-cluttered and cleaned and we are all ready for a new year. I am starting 2017 as a sloth after today!
2016 has been an amazing year for us. We always knew it would be. I always post - for my benefit - a review of our year on 31st December and this year I have already finished my review book so can use that as my focus. Feel free to skip down tot he end - I am sure it will be boring as heck for anyone but us and for family who read the blog.
We feel very blessed this year. 2015 was a hard year for us both health wise and 2016 has been a year of thankfulness. We really have been thankful as we know what ill health means - we count ourselves blessed every day and started 2016 with great optimism.
This is the cover of the review book - it is a 12" x 6" book
It was a year about togetherness and so the inside cover reflects that. Nigel said - and it was very poignant - he gave me to TH 29 years ago and he was coming to get me back ... and he did.
It was this time last year that we really firmed up the plans we had had for about 18 months that I really was going to hand in my notice and take early retirement. I finally handed in my notice on 19th January. Hideous photo of me but it was a hasty snap on that morning to record the day. (and it is straight it is just that it is on hinges as the photo lifts up for journalling.
January also saw Nigel really start and make headway with setting up the Darcy Ward Foundation - a major achievement this year and one I am so proud of him for.
One notice had been given we both felt a weight had been lifted off our shoulders. What was done was done - no going back - just going forward.
February was cold with brisk walks and lots of sunshine. Actually it has been a year of sunshine.
March saw majour garage sorting ready for me to bring things home - and my last ever conference. I have been blessed to travel to many places and many nice hotels in my career and heard some truly remarkable speakers over the years. It is an aspect I will miss. I won't miss the black tie dinners though - not my style really.
March saw the start of the year of the nose too. My nose is looking much better now but Oh My was it awful. I had a possible cancerous lump removed and it all got infected and was dreadful. It turned out to be benign - thankfully - and I am now almost at the point where I am glad I had it done. Almost.
March also saw a lovely trip to Ghent, Amsterdam and Ypres - and everything in between. It was to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary
Our visit to Ypres and the Menin Gate was especially poignant as it was 100 anniversary of the Somme where my grandfather fought and we were there the day Brussels was attacked by terrorists too.
April saw ur 30th anniversary - we had celebrated early as I was at school for the day itself - it saw glorious bluebells and also our new beautiful hybrid car Ruby. We are both as in love with her today as we were in April when we got her. She is fab, saves us a fortune and is so gorgeous to drive.
April also saw me give a speech at my last school birthday and sit for my portrait - so not my style at all. It was also the first of many craft fairs this year which have become more and more successful as I have found what works and what doesn't.
We became annual members of Compton Acres and have enjoyed many visits and our cats continued to bring us such great joy. (even more so now the tree is down and we are not on guard all the time)
We re-did the study so I have proper 12 x 12 storage and it looks awesome and I also went on my last residential trip ever. It was also the best residential trip I had ever been on - how fitting.
June was a month of farewells and was very special, from the tea, the recognition of the bishop, the special transition service, the final concert and tea and prize-giving. It was all very emotional but I was so happy I had made the decision - it was so right, I had no doubts and have not looked back. I miss the girls at times, but I am very happy with the career I had and the life I now have.
This is one of the pocket pages so there are insert sheets documenting the events
Obviously I have had to cover up the pictures of children
June and into July saw many parties and celebrations - fitting I finally finished on 4th July - Independence Day
July was the first time I really relaxed. I realise now I never relaxed even int he summer holidays as I was always so driven to get everything done in 8 weeks holiday that I never just 'stopped' and chilled. This year I did. We had so many lovely days with friends and family and also went on a wet but enjoyable trip to Wales.
August was more of the same. Nigel had by now established the Foundation and had achieved so much. It had been a steep learning curve and a job he was doing 24/7 and so it was time for him, now it was all established, to take a step back and hand it over to someone else. He'd set up something to be really proud of.
He also fulfilled a dream and drove a trolley bus. He was thrilled.
We hunted Zebra in August, I damaged both my arm and my ankle (stupid accidents that were quite spectacular in their 'colour' and I suffered a complete and total comuter failure. Everything gone - thank God I back up regularly.
Septemeber - well September we were awa ont he best holiday we have ever had. It was a little of everything. Awesome road trip, amazing weather, cities, and forests, mountains and lakes, coast and vineyards and - of course - Disney and Angels.
There are also several insets in this pocket page.
October saw us settle into our new life. Nigel's brothers visited, we enjoyed Autumn colours and sunsets and partied.
The weather was exceptional right through the year and we enjoyed so many lovely walks and lunches out. We are blessed to live in such a beautiful place
and December saw more great days out, lots of fun with family and friends
and a truly special Christmas
We have indeed had a blessed year and one which we count ourselves very lucky.
Finally I finished the JYC book
I hope 2016 has been a wonderful year for all of you. It is true there are always bad things that happen too and sadness along the way but I genuinely believe it is important to look for the good, for the things to be thankful for, to build on positivity etc. Last year I selected a word at random and it was Future. This year has been one where we have reclaimed our future, however long that may be. We have so much to be thankful for and I hope that you have too.
I wish you all - in advance - a very happy new year. I hope 2017 is one filled with health and happiness, love and laughter for us and for all of you